First edition, first impression of one of the earliest books on the automobile. "Efforts to invent a 'horseless carriage' had proliferated in Europe and America since the release of the Otto four-cycle engine from monopoly control in 1885", and "The year 1896 saw the publication of several automotive 'incunabula,' including Farman's technical and historical treatise, Knight's guide for owners and operators, and Sennett's 'Carriages without horses shall go'" (Norman 766). Copies of this book are rare, particularly in the original cloth, and only two have appeared at auction since 1998, one being the Haskell F. Norman copy.
Author Alfred Robert Sennett, an engineer and commissioner at Crystal Palace, was one of the first people to take motor-cars seriously as a disruptive technology, rather than viewing them as a novelty. He believed that automobiles would dramatically change transportation, and that their main use would eventually be in hauling heavy goods such as agricultural produce and coal from the country to cities (as explained in the chapter "Horseless Bread Delivery").
This volume also includes sections on the history of automotive engineering, car types and manufacturers; the development of the petrol engine; laws and regulations relating to automobiles; and the dispute between the carriage makers and the engineers as to who should have precedence over car manufacturing (Sennett suggested that the undercarriages and mechanical parts could be built by the engineers and the passenger cabins by the carriage makers). It is copiously illustrated, featuring numerous photographs of contemporary automobiles. Sennet soon after became a proponent of the Garden City movement, for which the motorcar played such an important role, and in 1905 he published the book Garden Cities in Theory and Practice.
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